Charlton Athletic Football Club Women
Riteesh - We've still plenty to play for
Riteesh - We've still plenty to play for
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:00PM GMT, Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Riteesh Mishra says there is still a lot for the Charlton women’s team to play for this season, with places in the squads for three cup finals up for grabs.
Quote by: Riteesh Mishra“We are now determined as a group of staff and players to put things right and finish off the season in good form. We've got a lot to play for, and it is my job to pick the players up for eight more massive games for this club.”Quote by: Riteesh Mishra
Riteesh Mishra
After the disappointment of losing their final home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and seeing their chances at winning the FA Women’s Premier League South title probably ended, Mishra is keen to look at the positives.
But first, reflecting on the 1-0 defeat to unbeaten FAWPL South leaders Spurs during a weekend off for his side, first team coach Mishra was disappointed with his side’s lack of bite, aggression and courage to play in the first half.
He said: “I am responsible for the way we played there's no question about that. It's my job to get the players in the right frame of mind to compete to win a game of football. I think we set up well tactically and nullified their strengths. But ultimately I was disappointed with the result, obviously, and disappointed with the performance as well. For 75% of the game we weren’t good enough.
“I can’t question the girls’ work rate – they worked hard – but we weren’t brave enough in the first half to get on the ball and pass the ball. We gave the ball away quite cheaply, played into their hands and they nullified some of our strengths in the first half. We didn’t then try anything different and failed to get our forward players in to the game with any rhythm.
“Second half was a bit better; we came out much braver, tried to get on the ball, we anticipated things a bit better and played more on the front foot. We still didn’t really get out of third gear but we created some chances. We had a few one on ones and hit the crossbar – if we put any of those away it could be a different game. But we know as staff and players that we let ourselves down. 
“All in all we had really good momentum going into the game, we trained well, I think that we prepared well and we’ve just not been able to perform on the ball, in what was a massive game. It was our biggest test this season and a chance to show people how good we are and that we are contenders at this level and unfortunately we came out second best.

“They did well to nullify some of our strengths but I don't think we really laid a glove on them in an attacking sense. We've spoke as a group and we know in the next outing we will offer more on the ball."
However, Mishra adds there are plenty of chances to improve, as his side still have four matches to play against Spurs, including the reverse league fixture, but also finals in the FAWPL, Ryman and Capital cups.

"On a positive, we can and will play better in the next games. Also, I thought Charlotte Lee came on [as a second half substitute] and gave us a bit of bite, gave us a bit of aggression and she got on the ball, hurried them, harassed them and she gave us a bit of momentum going into the latter stages of the second half.”
To that end, the Addicks still have matches in between now and then, with yet another tough match against Coventry United this Sunday in the West Midlands – a team that has already beaten Charlton 5-1 in south east London the last time the two sides met.
And Mishra hopes his players can put down a marker and prove that they've improved since the turn of the year. 
“We’ve got eight games left of the season and still a lot to play for; the league looks extremely difficult now but we’ve got to go into every game and try to win the game and I think there are places in the league, but also within the team to fight for.
“[The Coventry game] is going to be a chance to put things right and a chance for people to prove their mentality, and show that they should be playing and starting in the cup finals that are coming up.”
Ending on a positive note, Mishra says he hopes his side’s character that he has seen again and again throughout the season can help them bounce back – both against Coventry and in the plethora of Spurs re-matches.
A 2-0 victory earlier in 2017 against Cardiff City already avenged the 4-1 defeat the Welsh side inflicted on Charlton just a month previous and two comebacks against Crystal Palace, gives him encouragement.
“I’ve spoken about our comeback against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, the weekend before last against Blackburn, against Sheffield, we’ve played big occasions and come out on top. We’ve shown real grit and mentality – and I see it in training all the time. It's difficult to then deliver that against good teams in games, where it really matters, but I ask my players to do it because I know they are capable and good enough.
“Perhaps we built the [Tottenham] game up too much before. Perhaps we showed them a little too much respect and perhaps because it was the last game at Thamesmead this year, it became such a big occasion that everyone was desperate to do well in, that we over complicated things, and I think a few of those nerves carried through the team in the first half and once you’ve got those nerves it’s difficult to get them out of your system.

“We are now determined as a group of staff and players to put things right and finish off the season in good form. We've got a lot to play for, and it is my job to pick the players up for eight more massive games for this club.”

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